Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Churro Queens

Churro Queens

          I absolutely love the Food Truck scene here in Nashville and some really creative newcomers are joining the ranks, including Churro Queens! Churro Queens has only been on the road for a a little more than a month and already has Nashvillians excited about the delicious, easy to eat treats. Churro Queens is run by a trio of food loving relatives - Brenda Menjivar, Mayra Menjivar and Mayra's mother, Maria Menjivar. A couple weeks ago I sat down with Brenda Menjivar to learn more about her background and the inspiration for Churro Queens.

The Grande Churro with Caramel sauce

The Milky Way

(Photo Credit: Churro Queens Website)

Dr. Carmen April:    Hi Brenda and thanks for being here with me today! Let's start off by you telling me where you’re from originally.

Brenda Menjivar: 
   I was born in El Salvador and grew up in Belize. I came to the United States when I was 17.

Dr. Carmen April:    Where did you settle in the US?

Brenda Menjivar:    I came to California and lived there for a few years and then I moved to Las Vegas.  Then I made my way to Nashville because I had family and an opportunity for work here.  I didn’t have a good job at that time and my kids were in college, so I wanted to look for an opportunity to make more money and that’s when I came here. When I got here, I fell in love with Nashville.

Dr. Carmen April:    Tell me what you did career-wise, when you started Churro Queens.

Brenda Menjivar:    When I came to California at 17 and started working at a dry cleaner’s, I stayed in the dry cleaning industry for 20 years.

Dr. Carmen April:    Where did the idea for Churro Queens come from?

Brenda Menjivar: 
   My passion has always been cooking. I love to cook and try different recipes.  I used to watch the Food Channel all the time.  I love food! I love to eat it, prepare it, and see other people enjoy it as well. I have a passion for food. I wanted to go to cooking school, but unfortunately, I had my kids early and that came with it's own responsibilities. Then I was like, okay I want to go to cooking school now.  The kids are out; they’re gone so I think it’s my time now. Then I went to California and said that I was going to go to school over there.  The top 2 schools that I wanted to go to were expensive - Le Cordon Bleu and The Art Institute. I was going to apply for loans and grants, but I did my research and realized I'd end up owing $50,000 or maybe more by the time I finished. I was staying at my cousin’s place in L.A., my business partner Mayra. We used to talk about food all the time.  Churros have been popular in Central America for a long time and originated in Spain. We know that Churros are delicious and it’s not a big investment to start this type of business. I never had the money to do it on my own. I always wanted to, but I needed the investment.  Having Mayra as my business partner is great.

Dr. Carmen April:    Are Churros something that you made a lot of in your family?

Brenda Menjivar:
    Yeah, we used to buy them and eat them a lot. They’re not that hard to make and they don’t take that long to make either.

Dr. Carmen April:    You ladies have quite a few items on the menu and they’re all churros, or churro-based. Tell me about some of them. You even have Churro sundaes and banana splits, right?

Brenda Menjivar:    We have a Churro called the Milky Way and it contains caramel.  The Milky Way and the Brazilian are the Churros with the filling inside. We have a kids’Churro with sprinkles and caramel, and we have the Plain Jane. We do the traditional churro with Belgian chocolate.   There’s a little bit for everyone.

Dr. Carmen April:    How do you come up with the flavors and menu items?

Brenda Menjivar:
  I had all my family’s kids and everyone get together.  I needed everyone together where I can get to them and judge me, tell me what they like so that I could get a feeling of what people like out there. 

Dr. Carmen April:    Why did you ladies decide to start your business in Nashville?  You were living here in Nashville, but your business partner and cousin Mayra lives in California.  I know that Los Angeles has a pretty good food truck scene, too.  Why Nashville versus L.A.?

Brenda Menjivar:    Mayra wanted L.A., but I wanted to go back to Nashville!  I saw a vision here because I was out here before.  I said, you know what?  It’s a good, nice environment and people are happy here.  They’re so relaxed.  They like to go out, have a good time with their family, eat, experiment with different stuff, and it’s growing.  I said, why not Nashville?  I can bring something new and good that everyone can enjoy and give back to people. I convinced Mayra to start in Nashville.

Dr. Carmen April:    Tell me you role and Mayra's role in the business....

Brenda Menjivar:
    Mayra does the Marketing and Media.  She also does a lot of plugging in the financial numbers. I do a lot of the creative stuff, creating new items and being on the Trailer every day.

Dr. Carmen April:    When did you guys officially start Churro Queens?

Brenda Menjivar:    We started going out there by the end of September (2013). We’re new, but we’re getting a lot of good feedback. We wanted to go to one of the universities and we went to Belmont University.  Oh my God, it was good! Those kids were all excited to see us and we’re going back there again. We park outside of a tobacco shop every Thursday.  We’ve been there for four Thursdays already.  Its good feedback and we want to stay there because people around that area are already getting to know that we’re there.

Dr. Carmen April:    That’s good because people start knowing that they can expect you at certain places.

Brenda Menjivar:    Exactly! We are going to go to weddings, birthday parties, princess parties, so we’re coming up with events or catering. 

Dr. Carmen April:    Myra’s mother, Maria, also is part of the Churro Queens team. What is her role?

Brenda Menjivar:    Yes, the 3 of us run the show! She helps out with the inventory and customers, making sure that we have everything we need on the truck  She does a lot of marketing in the Hispanic community.

Dr. Carmen April:    What’s next for the Churro Queens?  Events?

Brenda Menjivar:    Yes, events. The catering aspect is picking up more now for birthday parties and events of that nature. Eventually, we want to have and additional trailer truck.  That’s what we want to do, keep growing in different areas.

Dr. Carmen April:    What is Myra’s background?

Brenda Menjivar:    She’s been doing marketing for most of her life and she loves that.  She’s good at it.  She owns a marketing company in California.  I feel confident that she’s doing all that and I don’t have to worry about anything while doing the other part over here, coming up with something creative.

Dr. Carmen April:    How have you guys been received by the food truck community here in Nashville?

Brenda Menjivar: 
   Very good.  We have had that support from everybody.

Dr. Carmen April:  The food truck association here is awesome.  It’s been growing and growing over the past couple of years.

Brenda Menjivar:    Yes, I know!

Dr. Carmen April:    Thank you so much!

Now on to what I ate and photographed....Mmmmmmmmmmmm :-)

These Churro's are Amazing!

Chocolate covered Frozen Banana

The Drama Queen Sundae

How cute is this Trailer?!?

Churro Queens, Maria and Brenda Menjivar

Mayra Menjivar
(Photo Credit: Churro Queens Website)


--Dr. April

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